Mitsouko / Guerlain

27 Sep

“And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” -Nietzsche

One word that sums up this fragrance: Misery.

I’ve gotten so many recommendations to try out Mitsouko: the tragic love story between the wife of Japanese Admiral Togo, and a British officer. The story takes place in 1905, during the war between Russia and Japan. Both men went to war, and Mitsouko, hiding her feelings with dignity, waits for the outcome of the battle to discover which of the two men will come back to her and be her companion.

Crafted in 1919 by Jacques Guerlain (the same creator of my favorite oriental Shalimar), this perfume is symbolic of the beginning of the end. It’s a mysterious fragrance, that carries with it a secretive love affair…it truly is its origin in a bottle!

If ever there was loneliness in a perfume I believe this would be a close call, Mitsouko is deeply enigmatic and private. There is nothing hopeful or happy here…just melancholy and sadness.

My first experience with Mitsouko is much like my experience with Shalimar, sprays on super strong and reeking of heavy oakmoss and jasmine…I was horrified. I immediately wanted to take a shower…it smelled a little like urine? Anyway, my good friend tells me it dries down into something different…and she was right. As the heavy top notes give away, you are exposed to its heart…which is much softer and more feminine (though still heavy in a figurative way).  Like I said…this scent reeks of tragedy, I highly doubt I would wear this again unless maybe I am in Paris on a cloudy day and feeling especially lonely lol.

But there is a reason why Mitsouko has outlasted the test of time; I suppose every woman needs to experience this complex fragrance at least once in her life. Who would have thought that one man could so perfectly encapsulate the essence of misery in a bottle?

Top Notes

Citruses/ Jasmine/ Bergamot/ Rose

Middle Notes

Lilac/ Peach/ Ylang-Ylang

Base Notes

Spices/ Amber/ Cinnamon/ Oakmoss/ Vetiver

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